Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, as per the World Health Organization. This suggests that an interplay among nutrition, physical activity, rest, and environment, play a role to achieve an optimal level of functioning, in addition to the overall state of health.
Cholesterol is one of the determinants of the body’s state of health. According to the American Heart Association, it is a waxy substance that can be produced by the body or can be obtained from food. As per the publication, the liver is the one responsible for the production of cholesterol in the body. In addition, cholesterol can be found in animal food sources, such as meat, chicken, and full-fat dairy products. The publication indicated that greater amounts of cholesterol are produced by the liver if a person’s diet has high saturated and trans fats content.
There are two types of cholesterol – good and bad. High density lipoproteins or HDLs are the good ones and they contribute to the body’s health. On the other hand, low density lipoproteins of LDLs are also known as bad cholesterol and they increase the risk of having hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.
But how do we reduce the amount of bad cholesterol of LDLs in the body?
According to Pritikin, a person can lower the body’s bad cholesterol by reducing the intake of foods that bring saturated fats, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol to the bloodstream. This means that food choices, such as fatty flesh red meat, butter, and low-fat dairy products should be eaten in moderation if not restricted. Instead, foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help in the normal cellular processes, should be consumed instead. Food choices that serves as excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, halibut, herring, and trout, among others.
Bad cholesterol can also be reduced by consuming chocolates and tea. According to Prevention, chocolates have antioxidants that promote the production of high density lipoproteins or good cholesterol. A study published in AJCN (via Prevention) found out that subjects who consumed cocoa powder had a boosted HDL levels by 24 percent over 12 weeks while those who did not consume coca only has five percent increase in the levels of their good cholesterol. It has also been added that non-milk chocolate variants have more than thrice as many antioxidants, preventing platelets from clumping and clogging the blood vessels. Meanwhile, tea is also known for its ability to promote digestion, enhance metabolism, and fight cancer. A study conducted with the USDA revealed that black tea demonstrated to decrease fat levels in the blood by up to ten percent in three weeks. The said findings were linked to the findings of a larger study, allowing the researchers to conclude that tea may help lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
Losing weight via fat is another way to reduce bad cholesterol. According to Web MD, being able to drop ten pounds means a decline in the amount of low density lipoproteins by up to eight percent. As per the publication, it is recommended to lose one to two pounds a week as a reasonable and safe objective. This goal also suggests developing nutritional plans that provide 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for men.
Above all, reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in the body is beneficial to health. Aside from allowing the good cholesterol to promote healthy functioning of cells, the risk of having cardiovascular diseases and stroke is lowered as well.